With the impending departure of Superintendent William Hite and County Executive Baker’s new-found zeal for helping shape education policy and direction, I thought it appropriate to review something small. It got lost in the cracks. Even for PGC Blog, it was a blip on the radar but now is a good time to look at the firestorm that was on June 20th, 2012 when former student School Board Member, Faith Jackson let the members of the School Board HAVE IT for intermingling politics and “self-serving ulterior motives” with the true need to serve the students, parents, residents, and teachers who make up the constituency of this School Board.
Now I’m wondering, what’s the real Prince George’s County School Board? Superintendent Hite was called everything from a scoundrel to a savior. Hite has only been the superintendent since 2008; now he’s gone. And Hite is leaving to take a post in Philadelphia. From the accounts of Philadelphia residents and media, their’s is a troubled school system. More troubled than PGCo’s, so why is Hite leaving? Now the outgoing student member, Faith Jackson, has called the board to the carpet for doing their darndest to NOT serve the students. Whoa. Their response? The board is considering voting on a policy that would limit the role of the new student school board member, Shabnam Ahmed. The new policy would bar student board member from attending “executive sessions.” Ahmed was voted into this position just like Jackson, but Ahmed is the sister of Raheela Ahmed who’s running against board member Verjeana Jacobs, District 5. All of this sucks.
Seems that at least SOME of the members of this board need to go. You have to ask yourself, just what did Faith Jackson witness that you take her to that place where you just don’t give a flip? The visual of County Executive Baker being the driver of this short bus is not settling. Baker was a part of a move that dissolved the elected school board in favor of one appointed by the county Executive. A short-lived fiasco but a fiasco nonetheless.
I believe Baker is seeing how a stellar education system, jobs, great hospitals, upscale shopping, and rational home values all form a hand that can usher in a better day in this county. But Baker is going to have to up the ante on these Johnson-era jokers who are accustomed to a political culture where using their positions to serve themselves is acceptable. Faith Jackson was just the beginning. We’re all watching now.
For the record, here is the official student school board member position description:
The Student Member has the same rights and privileges of an elected adult member, except that the student member may not vote on matters related to capital and operating budgets, school closings, school re-openings, and school boundaries; collective bargaining decisions; student disciplinary matters; teacher and administrator disciplinary matters as provided under Educ. Art., §6-202; and, other personnel matters. Unless invited to attend by an affirmative majority vote of the nine elected adult Members of the Board, the Student Member may not attend an executive session that relates to the hearings on appeals of special education placements, hearings held under Educ. Art., §6-202 (a), or collective bargaining. During regular meetings, the Student Member may make motions or second motions made by others. However, his or her right to vote on such motions is predicated upon whether it concerns a matter on which the student may vote.